Marketing, Everybody Thinks They Know It , But They Don’t

digital marketing, marketing, marketing strategy

Speaking from personal experience, I’m guilty of making all and more of the following mistakes.  I also believe the bumps and bruises I’ve suffered along the way could have been avoided if I had only…

Poorly Defining the Marketing Strategy

had a clearly defined marketing strategy, supported by well-defined tactics. For example, customer X’s marketing strategy was to generate more sales leads by running Facebook ads.  Most people will think “sounds good to me,” and so did I.  A better objective was to get 10 or more leads per month of single mothers earning more than $50k per year that live in county Y using targeted Facebook advertising.  We got 13 leads and saved $800 in spend with this tweak, then doubled our leads the second month!

Failing to Test your Digital Marketing Ads

I remember running my first Facebook ad.  After reading all the hype and the insane money, people were making online. I thought “piece of cake.”  I deployed the “Let’s run some small ads and see what happen” plan.  I ran quite a few ads with varying results.  When we tweaked our A/B split test approach by tightly controlling variable changes our results skyrocketed.

Conducting A/B split testing by changing too many variables.  For example ad A is composed of a picture, copy, with a call to action, and color scheme.  Ideally, ad  B should be the same as ad A except with dramatically different copy. We’ll keep improving the message  If instead, ad B has the different copy with a bolder color scheme, it will be nearly impossible to determine if ad B won or lost to ad A due to the color scheme or the copy.

Not Knowing the Numbers

Just about every marketing tool provides some kind of metric.  But if you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff you will be chasing ghosts.  Relying on ROI alone is not enough because it expresses a bottom line ratio of cost expended to gain a sale.  Converting a stranger into a customer has many intermediate metrics that should be evaluated to ensure your campaign stays on the right track.  Quite frankly keeping tabs on those intermediate metrics, and making tweaks along the way will guarantee better ROI results.

Getting more traffic to your website is an evident goal. More people looking at your offerings usually means more sales. Google Analytics provides a massive amount of site traffic metrics which is overwhelming.  Check out this informative article from Bplans, The 6 Most Important Web Metrics.   After generating sufficient traffic, understanding how well your site is converting traffic into actual sales gets you that much closer to boosting your ROI. Take a look at the 8 Most Important Conversion Metrics from Kissmetrics Blog.

Marketing is Tricky Without a Test and Verify Approach

Many entrepreneurs don’t lack the confidence or the work ethic to build a business. However when it comes to digital marketing many believe only building a website and running AdWords, or Facebook ads is enough to get sales.  The reality is digital marketing requires a thoughtful approach that encompasses keen knowledge of your customer base, testing and revising your marketing campaign through careful analysis of traffic and conversion metrics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Learned About Web Hosting and Web Design

I started my digital marketing journey in earnest way back in September 2016.  I have been completely overwhelmed with the massive amount of information available.  At some point, I realized that I needed to cut through all the “fluff” and hone in on what’s really important.

Web Hosting

Having a technically sound, reliable website.  It sounds like a no-brainer, but in hindsight, I should have done more research on hosting companies. My primary consideration was cost, followed by consumer reviews on their service support.   I ended up choosing eHost.  The cost was great, and overall the reviews were pretty good.

But now that I have been working with eHost, I would have paid a little more money on the front end for built-in and configured performance tools.  For example, it would have been nice to have a built-in content distribution network (CDN).  CDN helps to greatly speed up your website by caching your site on servers around the world.  The end result is that your site becomes extremely fast to users no matter where their geographic location is.  Built-in security tools, and robust backup tools would also be nice.

Basic hosting packages will save you money in the short-term, but costs will grow when adding a la carte features. Another important consideration is that you have the responsibility to properly configure each add-on service/feature.  Not everybody can, has the time, or patience to do so.  Fortunately for me, I have extensive knowledge and training in technology. But even I had many profanity rants trying to figure out why something was not working!

The bottom line is how much are you willing to pay for convenience vs saving with a DIY approach?  The hidden benefit of DIY is that you will definitely earn your battle scars!  I have made so many mistakes, that I have learned what works and what doesn’t.  The downside of DIY is the time expended to learn, and the potential to make catastrophic mistakes.

Web Design

The second most import consideration is design.  Now that I have settled on a hosting company, I now needed to make my website.  My first choice was to use a drag and drop web design tool such as WIX. WIX is very easy to use, and even fun at times.  The nightmares began when I wanted to customize something, or the available templates were missing something I wanted.  WIX and similar tools are great for simple, well-defined sites.  However, getting under the hood to customize images, text, and many other things is challenging.

In the end, I decided to go with WordPress.  WordPress has a lot going on, and the learning curve can be steep.  But eventually, after many tears, I was able to create something I could be proud of.  I had a lot of help with YouTube videos, and hundreds of Internet searches on widgets, plugins, and themes etc.

I ended up using the Vantage theme, which has been very good.  However, each theme has its own idiosyncrasies.  For example, I bought another theme because it looked pretty cool.  After I installed the new WordPress theme, I had to learn how to use that new theme.  The layout was different, the methodology was different.  So I switched back to Vantage because I was familiar with it enough to be productive.

One serious consideration that came to light while working with WordPress themes is the theme’s overhead.  Themes are programming marvels in my opinion.  However, all that programming can dramatically effect page speed and page load times. To get your site’s performance optimized, you’ll need other programs to help.  consequently, adding additional complexity potentially making your site less stable.

What did I learn?

The take away is to spend more time clarifying your websites ultimate purpose (think big) and engineer your hosting and web design around that.